Festivals in March

PERFUME PAGODA ( HUONG TICH) FESTIVAL

Waterway to Perfume Pagoda

 

The Perfume Pagoda (Huong Tich), At My Duc, 69km south of Hanoi, without doubt, is the most famous Buddhist pilgrimage site in northern Vietnam. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims travel to this sacred cave to pray for happiness and prosperity in the coming year. pilgrims board boats, usually rowed by young women, which carry them along the Yen Stream through a stunning landscape of blazing green rice paddles studded with jagged limestone mounts to the base of Huong Mountain. From the riverbank, pilgrims proceed on foot, past various ancient pagodas, monasteries and shrines, up hundreds of stone steps and a switchback trail, all worn smooth by the passage of countless feet. The Perfume Pagoda consists of a group of caves and is an impressive architectural ensemble of both human and natural endeavor.

The Perfume Pagoda Festival lasts from the 6th day of the 1st month to the end of the 3rd month of the lunar calendar. Visitors can get tot the Perfume Pagoda either by the inland road or by water way. The Vietnamese believe that Huong Son is Buddha's Heaven. Huong Son is considered the place to worship Bodhisattva Kwan Yin. People conduct a dragon dance in the yard of Trinh Pagoda, and sail the royal barge on the 6th day of the 1st month. The festival is held in three places, Huong Tich, Tuyet Son, and Long Van. The festival is most crowded from the 15th - 20th day of the 2nd month of the lunar calendar as this period marks the main festival. The path leading from Ngoai Pagoda to Trong Pagoda is full of visitors coming up and down the mountain.
 
A pilgrimage to the Perfume Pagoda is not only for religious reasons, but also to see the numerous natural landscapes and the buildings that are valuable artifacts of the nation.
 

Starting Dates in Western Calendar 2005 Feb 23, 2006 Feb 12, 2007 Mar 4, 2008 Feb 21.

 

COW RACING FESTIVAL

Cow Racing

 

Each year on the last day of the Khmer calendar, the Khmer, an ethnic minority group living in the Mekong delta province of Angiang, hold a festival to honor their ancestors. The festival begins with a visit to the pagoda, where Khmer families invite the souls of their ancestors to dine with the living. Should any visitors appear during the festival they will be warmly received since the Khmer believe that guests who arrive around New Year are messengers sent by their ancestors.

Following a visit to the pagoda people walk to the nearest stream or river where they tie the trunks of banana trees together to form rafts. Offerings are placed on these rafts, which are then pushed into the water to be swept away by the current.

These quiet ceremonies are sharp contrast to the highlight of the festival, a cow race. The racetrack, set in a muddy and slippery paddy field, is 120m long, with both the start and finish lines marked with red and green flags. Each race involves two pairs of cow, controlled by two young men. To further complicate their task, the teams must run in a straight line and will be disqualified for veering off course.

The races are both exciting and hilarious. People travel from miles for the show, bringing food and pots and pans for a picnic. Part rodeo, part race and part comedy, a Khmer cow race is an unforgettable spectacle.
 

Festival in March, Vietnam travel festivals in March

See Also

Vietnam Festivals in April
Festival in January & February
Festivals in November & December